AUGUSTA – They had December 12th circled on their calendars as soon as the KVAC schedule became public, but Edward Little may want to look back on that date as much as it looked forward to it.

The Red Eddies might want to remember their defensive effort in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s 51-42 win over Cony. They nearly shut out the Rams in the period, spoiled the first regular season boys’ game in Cony’s new gym and avenged an upset loss in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

“We got kind of out of sync in the second quarter and we played a little soft on defense. Usually when that happens, we kind of stay in that funk,” said Troy Barnies, who led the Eddies with 19 points and 10 rebounds. “I think (the fourth quarter) was heart. We wanted to get out on defense and we took a lot of big charges in the fourth quarter.”

Cony took advantage Troy Barnies on the bench for much of the third quarter with three fouls, seizing a 40-35 lead heading into the final period. But with Barnies back, the Eddies got more aggressive at the offensive end and, frankly, a little less aggressive defensively.

“We were giving up layups by trying to press, so we settled back into the halfcourt and kept them in front of us,” EL coach Mike Adams said. “Usually, you think with us that we have to press to get something going, but tonight it was the opposite.”

“We stopped taking chances, too – jumping for the ball when it’s already been passed,” said Travis Barnies, who added 11 valuable points inside. “Early on, we were jumping to the ball late, so we just let the ball come and then got up defensively.”

The Eddies caused five turnovers, took numerous charges and forced the Rams to miss their first six shots of the fourth. They scored the first 15 points of the quarter, sparked by a Travis Barnies hoop underneath. Kyle Philbrook gave them the lead for good with a strong drive to the hoop that made it 41-40 with 4:52 left.

Even a missed dunk by Troy Barnies couldn’t stop the Eddies’ momentum. Barnies scored three more buckets and Eric Prue added a jumper before Cony finally got on the board with 37 seconds left.

EL started the game strong at both ends, but couldn’t sustain their outside touch after Troy Barnies and Ben Hartnett (12 points) combined to stick three of four 3-point attempts to send the Eddies to a 16-6 lead.

They were 0-for-9 from behind the arc the rest of the night, and the Rams chipped away at the lead until Brian Lui beat the halftime buzzer with a runner that pulled them within one, 27-26.

Cony began to find the range in the third quarter, riding 3-pointers by Jon Turner and Chris Thurston to a 38-31 lead. EL, meanwhile, had no offensive flow whatsoever and shot just 3-of-12 from the field.

“We settled for a first pass jump shot. We weren’t patient, We forced passes in the post. We didn’t step to passes,” Adams said. “We went back and we said ‘You know what’s coming. Obviously, the ball’s going in to Troy and Travis, can you stop it? Can we be more patient and find the right pass?’ And we were and good things started to happen.”

Thurston finished with 14 points to lead Cony, while Andrew Pullen added 12.


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